I have been reading books with a grandnephew over the last several months. We call it the Family Almost Book Club. He is in 9th grade and a voracious reader. Most of the titles we have read are YA, a genre that was almost unknown to me.The books that have been our favorites are:
The Fault in our Stars by John Green - great characters, a compelling story, snappy tart dialog that rings consistently true. A wonderful novel that I don't hesitate to recommend to adults. We also read and thoroughly enjoyed Green's Looking for Alaska.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (his first I think) - located in SciFi but a YA at heart. A dystopian future, a love story with the odds stacked against the budding lovers, a slacker learns to step up and play his best game to win love and save the universe. What's not to love?
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - Based on the author's experience in battling depression. It is a funny story, not comedic or light-hearted, but funny in a warm and optimistic way. The protagonist's short stay in a Pysch Ward seems almost magical in its results, but one should never doubt the efficacy of modern anti-depressants for some people.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - coming-of-age epistolary novel in which the main character Charlie describes his life and experiences in a series of letters to an unknown party. Charlie's journey reminds those of us for whom high school is a dim memory of the trials and roller-coaster emotions of that period of our lives. And it communicates acceptance of differences, empathy for the outsider, and optimism for the soon to be initiated.
We have read three or four others including Hunger Games, Ender's Game, The Maze Runner, and Divergent, but these have had plenty of attention from many others. I have become a big fan of YA's, and have thanked my grandnephew on several occasions for introducing me to these special books.